Dewsbury MP received 100 abusive tweets an hour after Boris Johnson 'humbug' row in Commons

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asked the Prime Minister to apologise to Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff in the Commons tonight.


Referencing Boris Johnson’s response of “humbug” when Ms Sherriff asked him to moderate his language, Mr Corbyn said Ms Sherriff had been “stoic” in dealing with abuse thrown at her since.

Paula Sherriff, Dewsbury MP. Photo: JPI Media

Paula Sherriff, Dewsbury MP. Photo: JPI Media

The Financial Times revealed Ms Sherriff received 100 abusive tweets an hour after the exchange with the PM, some of which she read during the debate on holding an early general election last night.

Ms Sherriff said: “One such tweet from that evening read: ‘Tough **** Mrs Shrek, a surrender bill or surrender act is exactly what Benn’s treacherous act is’. Another read ‘do what the people told you to effing do, otherwise yes, expect to be strung up metaphorically or pysically'.

“The Prime Minister has never apologised for saying what he said that evening, so how can we trust him that we can be safe?”

Mr Corbyn added: “The threats that she’s received, the threats that other colleagues have received, the damage that’s been done to MP’s offices and the abusive language that has happened in so many parts of this country. I will be happy to give way to the Prime Minister now if he wants to get up and apologise to my friend for what he said about her during that debate.”

When Mr Johnson did not reply he said: “The Prime Minister has an opportunity to apologise for the language he uses, he seems unable to do so. The treatment she received was disgusting by any standards.”

But referring to a comment made by John McDonnell at a public meeting in 2014 about Esther McVey, Mr Johnson said: “I’m happy to apologise if the Shadow Chancellor would, for instance, apologise for inviting the population to lynch the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.”

Ms McVey was previously Secretary of State for Work and Pensions but is now Housing Minister.

Mr Corbyn added: “Well, sorry seems to be the hardest word, doesn’t it?”

Mr Johnon did previously apologise for what he said was a misunderstanding.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr show shortly after the exchange he said: “My use of the word ‘humbug’ was in the context of people trying to prevent me, us, from using the word ‘surrender’.

Mr Marr said Ms Sherriff was talking about something “very specific”. Mr Johnson said: “In that case, that was a total misunderstanding and that was wrong.”

He added: “I can certainly say sorry for the misunderstanding, but my intention was to refuse to be crowded out from using the word ‘surrender’ to describe the Surrender Act.”